THANKS TO SMARTPLAY
Every year hundreds of people suffer sporting injuries – sprains, strains, fractures and broken bones. More often than not most of these injuries could have been prevented had the correct preparation been undertaken.
To help you prepare for activity and help reduce injury risks, Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia’s sports injury prevention program funded by VicHealth and the Department of Planning and Community Development (Sport and Recreation Victoria) provides you with the following injury prevention advice:
Avoid doing too much too soon
Make sure you prepare for activity by starting at a level and pace you’re comfortable with. Gradually increase your workload over a series of sessions. Without undertaking the proper preparation for your activity, your risk of injury increases by 35%. If you’re unsure of how to increase your fitness level see a qualified fitness professional for advice.
Always warm up, stretch and cool down
Always remember to warm up and cool down when undertaking activity. Warming up prepares you both mentally and physically for performance and decreases your risk of being injured. To warm up, simply start your chosen activity at a slower pace. Also remember to cool down after activity sessions to help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. Research shows that cooling down after activity may reduce injuries by almost 10%.
Drink the right amount of fluids
Thirst is a poor indicator of fluid needs, so don’t wait to feel thirsty before having a drink. Always drink fluids (water or a sports drink) before, during and after activity. Drink at least 2 cups (500ml) an hour before exercise, 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise and enough to fully re-hydrate yourself after exercise. Not only will fluids prevent dehydration but research has shown that sports drinks containing carbohydrates and electrolytes can enhance sporting performance in some endurance activities.
Wear the right gear
Everyone needs to prepare for the activity ahead. Wear protective equipment such as helmets, padding and/or mouthguards, where required. Good quality footwear are also a must as a number of studies have found a relationship between the type of footwear worn and the incidence of injuries to the lower limb. Properly fitted protective equipment and footwear should be specific to the type of activity you are doing, your size and age. Always seek professional help to make sure your protective gear and footwear fits correctly.
Avoid exercising in hot conditions
Exercising in hot conditions can cause heat injury with symptoms of fatigue, nausea, headache, confusion and light-headedness. Avoid exercising in very hot conditions, particularly in the middle of the day. During activity, try to rest in the shade whenever possible and protect yourself by wearing light clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
Know how to treat injuries
When undertaking activity, you should know what to do if an injury occurs, especially if you have suffered an injury in the last 12 months. Injury statistics have found previous injury increases the risk of further injury by 57%. Those who suffer a soft tissue injury should treat it with RICER – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral. Commence RICER immediately after injury occurs and continue for 48-72 hours. You should also avoid HARM factors – no heat, no alcohol, no running and no massage and see a sports medicine professional to help you get back to your activity as quickly as possible.
THANKS TO SMARTPLAY
Ever exercised or played sport and suffered a cramp? If you have, you’re certainly not alone as they can occur when people are active, as a result of dehydration. Put simply they happen because people do not drink enough fluids before, during and after activity.
When you exercise or play sport your body loses water by sweating. You need to replace this water by drinking fluids (water or a sports drink).
If you don’t, you will become dehydrated.
Dehydration reduces your sporting performance whilst increasing your heart rate, body temperature and how hard you perceive exercise to be. You become fatigued and may incur cramps, heat stress or even heat stroke.
So how do you avoid getting dehydrated whilst exercising or playing sport? Simple, by following some advice from Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia’s sports injury prevention program funded by VicHealth and the Department of Planning and Community Development (Sport and Recreation Victoria).
How to avoid dehydration
Don’t wait to feel thirsty, thirst is a poor indicator of fluid needs.
Cool fluids may be absorbed more rapidly than warmer fluids.
Avoid starting exercise dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids for several hours prior to exercise.
If you do not like the taste of water drink flavoured drinks such as sports drinks and low concentration cordial. Sports drinks comprise carbohydrates and electrolytes. Carbohydrates supply the muscles with fuel during activity and improve flavour, while the main electrolyte is sodium, which promotes optimal fluid absorption and retention. Evidence also shows sports drinks can improve sports performance for longer duration exercise and endurance activity where fuel depletion and large fluid losses are likely.
If you are well hydrated you should be able to pass a good volume of clear urine in the hour before exercise.
You should also be aware of how much you need to drink to avoid dehydration.
Drink at least 500ml (2 cups) an hour before exercise.
Drink at least 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise.
During exercise take advantage of all breaks in play to drink up.
After exercise drink liberally to ensure you are fully re-hydrated.
These practices will ensure you avoid becoming dehydrated whilst active and keep you from injuring yourself. Remember injuries usually mean time on the sideline so prevention, or in this case, keeping hydrated is the key!